Saturday, October 06, 2007

Old posts below!

Last summer I decided to finally put together a "music-stuff" blog and put it up. It was originally designed to be some sort of music stuff review thing, and I actually started it but soon realized that it wasn't a really original idea and that as a reviewer I am, frankly, not that good. I had actually envisioned "great" things for the other blog, going as far as signing up with adsense (HAHA!). Anyway, I started this blog and just kind of continued on with it, and pretty much abandoned the other one. For some reason. I saw it today, and decided to consolidate postings here, so I went ahead and moved the posts. I had actually started a post about Uli Jon Roth, so I may just finish it up and post it here.

I also decided to change the blog layout and go with the one I had in the original blog (they're all pre-set, so it's not like I'm having to do something big!). I think the text space is too narrow, so I may just switch back. Who knows? Why don't you, my gentle reader (!!??) tell me what you think? hehe.

Below are three "reviews", one of the Phil Lynnot tribute Gary Moore DVD, the other one of Paul Di'Anno's limited edition CD where he did what else? Maiden songs, and the other one is of the then-recently-released Replay X3 DVD by Rush. In retrospect, they're not that bad as far as commentaries go, so here they are!

I still don't get why Rush has to release everything in digipak! It's such a hassle. Anyway...

RUSH!! Replay X3

This is from July 25, 2006.

Rush: Replay X3

Finally... Rush released some of their long out-of-print videos on DVD in the massive Replay X-3! The videos are: Exit... Stage Left, Grace Under Pressure Tour (or whatever the name is) and A Show Of Hands! The package comes with a bonus audio CD with the soundtrack of the Grace Under Pressure DVD. It's cool to finally have the stuff officially released. I own / have owned those videos in some form or another pretty much for years though. I plunked down good money to buy Exit... Stage Left and A Show Of Hands when they were available to purchase in stores back in the 80's. Those videos were not cheap either. They cost me like $30 each, and when I bought them, the prices of music videos had gone down already! I remember a friend of mine buying the Scorpions' World Wide Live video for like $50 when it came out (somehow, I ended up with that video, and I still have it, so Ernie, wherever you are, if you want it back, I have it!). The Grace Under Pressure video I never could find. My only memories of it were from a video a friend of mine taped off the TV. They had a show in one channel where they played concerts at midnight on Saturdays.

Then came the DVD era, but of course those weren't available. Demand was there, so it didn't take long for a Brazilian company to put them out on DVD. The GuP show was not available though. The Brazilian DVD's had a lot of useless extra stuff on them, and the video transfer wasn't that good. It gave my VHS tapes a rest though. I later got a supposedly official release of ESL on DVD from Singapore. It was professionally packaged, and the video transfer, while still not up to snuff, was a vast improvement over the Brazilian version. The Singapore ESL DVD was my copy of choice. it wasn't bad really.

One day a couple of years ago, I talked to this guy via e-mail. He happened to have made some transfers from the original laserdiscs on to DVD of the GuP, and ASoH videos, so I got some copies from him. The transfers are excellent, and the ASoH DVD has the song Lock And Key, which was only released in the laserdisc version! (not even the current Replay X3 has it). So, yeah, the videos have been out there on DVD for some time if one really wanted to get a copy!

If you buy the set at Best Buy, the audio CD has four unlisted, extra tracks tagged at the end; Limelight and Closer To The Heart (again!) from ESL, and The Spirit Of Radio and Tom Sawyer from ASoH. As far as a review goes, they're all great. I can't be objective with Rush. I've read a lot of comments here and there from people complaining about the anamorphic screen, about Lock And Key, about complete shows, blah blah blah boo hoo hoo. All I can say is "Shadduup!" Be grateful it's out officially on DVD.

My personal favorite is the Grace Under Pressure concert. It's my favorite album and is very sentimental for me I guess. That was the first new tape I got of Rush, and although I didn't like it that much at the beginning, it's gotten to be one of my favorites!

Oh, the pictures are on the Amazon site by the way.

Paul Di'Anno does more Iron Maiden!

This one is from June 25, 2006.

The folks over at Paul Di'Anno official website are selling a very limited edition (150) CD titled THE CLASSICS: The Maiden Years. I ordered my copy and got it in the mail a few days later (very quick delivery!) in an envelope adressed by Lea Hart himself!

Paul's voice has really held up well throughout the years and I enjoyed listening to the CD for the most part. As his voice has matured, it gives a new depth to some songs when he adds a very deep growl, so that sounds cool. Wasn't he like 20 when they recorded the first album? I liked all of the songs, except the new version of Strange World. The guitar work is annoying on that one.

These new versions by Paul are really good, but not necessarily better than the original ones. Out of all the Maiden singers, I think he's the one whose voice whose range has remained very much the same as always, and even has added depth to it by virtue of the passage of time. Bruce Dickinson is great, but his range is (of course!) not the same as 1982, and Blaze, although in my opinion has found his voice on is solo work and sounds awesome, does not sound the same as he did during his Wolfsbane days.

According to the site, only 150 copies were pressed. I doubt that very much. Supposedly, one can only get one copy. If you're a fan, it would make for a great collectible, but I doubt it will set the Iron Maiden collectors' market on fire.

I know he gets ripped on because he still does Iron Maiden songs, and even participates in Iron Maiden tributes. I say let him do all the Maiden he wants and cash in if he can. He's Paul freakin' Di'Anno! As far as I'm concerned he could tour every year and do Iron Maiden and Killers! He's entitled to it. With the exception of the song Transylvania (an instrumental), all the songs from the first album are here, plus Wrathchild, Murders In The Rue Morgue, Killers and Women In Uniform. I wonder what the economic incentive is though. My understanding is that Maiden bought him out for a lump sum andthe result is that he does not get any royalties when he releases Maiden tunes. He still does release them though because that is his legacy I suppose.

Too bad he doesn't tour the United States! I think the immigration department won't give him a visa or something. That's too bad. I bet he would have pretty successful tours here.

So, this is a good one to have. It's nice to have a disc of new recordings of Maiden tunes sung by Di'Anno instead of having to get one of those tribute CD's with a whole bunch of different singers only to hear one or two tunes sung by Paul. I'd get one of those tribute CD's if they had Paul do a Bruce or Blaze era song!

I read in the Maiden newsgroup that someone read an interview where Steve says Iron Maiden will do 15 studio albums and call it quits. After the new one comes out, there will be one left. I say it's time to start making memorable shows and bringing in Paul and/or Blaze to sing a couple of songs with the band, and maybe Dennis Stratton to play too. That would be something!

Gary Moore still rules! (the video, not quite)

This one is from May 29, 2006.

Last week I watched the Gary Moore and Friends: One Night in Dublin - Tribute to Phil Lynott DVD. Basically, a Phil Lynott statue was unveiled in Dublin on the 20th anniversary of his death, and Gary Moore played a concert where he paid tribute to Phil. There were some special guests who had played in Thin Lizzy and they played some Lizzy songs. This is what I thought of the musicians:

Gary Moore: Well, he's Gary Moore and he rules. He's one of the last two or three musicians I'd like to see in concert. I'm not a big fan of his blues trip though, but I'm sure that's what's paid the bills for him, so keep bluesin' Gary. Me? I'm stuck in his Hard Rock era, particularly from Corridors of Power through After The War. I'd really love to have some video from this era, but none is really available anymore. I e-mailed this guy one who has this huge list of videos to see if he wanted to trade or something, but he never replied. He played a local show in '87 I think, but I couldn't go because it was an over 21 place and I wasn't 21. Anyway, the show! His band consists of Brian Downey (who also rules) on drums, and some guy on bass. His guitar playing is awesome, but a big complain I have is that during Black Rose, when he was playing his awesome kick-ass solo, the cameras were everywhere but the fretboard! I mean, I love the guy, but I don't really want to see Scott Gorham hitting a power chord while Gary is turning over the world on its axis with his solo!

Brian Downey: Believe it or not, this is the first footage I've seen of Downey (I have the Lizzy show from Sydney, but that one has another drummer). Maybe he displayed more energy when he was younger, but now he looks very, veeerry relaxed when he plays. It sounds great though. He's bald too.

The bass player: He was good and stayed in the background (plays for Jethro Tull or something?). Looks like me a little. They should have just called me and I would have gladly played bass and looked better on this!

Brian Robertson: This guy has always been sort of an enigma for me. I've always read praises for the guy; the fiery young guitar player and stuff like that, but my reaction to his playing for Lizzy has always been kind of "meh". Maybe because he was 17 when he joined Lizzy and he was playing concerts, and THAT'S remarkable. At 17 I was trying to play in my bedroom like Chris Squire or something. Also he was a druggie, I believe, and some people praise that as being a characteristic of musical geniuses or something. I've never seen a shot of the guy's face either! He's always had his hair over his face, and here he was wearing sunglasses as well. His playing was the worst of the show. While they were playing Emerald, it seemed as if Gary was trying to motivate him to play better during their duel. I still don't see what the big deal is about this guy. He sucks.

Scott Gorham: Pretty cool California guy. His playing was always pretty competent, and his posing skills have gotten better with age. He's a Rock Star and you can't help it but crack up seeing him when he's up on stage. The camera shows him posing instead of Gary paying his heart out during Black Rose as I mentioned before! His interview is the one I enjoyed the most on the DVD extras. During the show, he never stops posing for the camera!

Eric Bell: His claim to fame, as far as I'm concerned, is that he payed guitar with Lizzy, and the two well-known songs from his time with the band are Whiskey in the Jar and The Rocker, and his playing rules in both songs. Beyond that, I don't know much about him. He handles some of the vocals during Whiskey in the Jar, and he sounds worse than Gary!

The Show: I'll have to go with the assumption that this was not the complete show. The DVD show is very short. I was thinking that Robertson and Gorham should have gotten to play together, all the guitar players should have taken solos at the end, etc. but the truth of the matter is that it was a Gary Moore show, and he's a better guitar player than all of those guys anyway. It starts with a blues song (boo!) and it ends with Parisienne Walkways (yay!). After the blues song, Gary plays Jailbreak and Don't Believe a Word before bringing in Robertson. He sticks around for a couple of songs and then Gorham comes in. To me, the tunes Gary did with Gorham were the most enjoyable part of the DVD. They played Black Rose, Cowboy Song and The Boys Are Back in Town. Eric Bell played on and sang part of Whiskey in the Jar. Then Gary closes. Gary handled vocal duties and did a really good job considering that, in my opinion, Phil songs are pretty hard to sing.

Extras: There was like a 25-minute long interview segment where all the guys get air time. Scott Gorham was the highlight of the interview segments because he seems to be a pretty laid back and open person.

I was able to extract the sound and make me an audio CD of the show (fits in one CD), and that's been getting a lot of airplay in my stereo/computer. As a matter of fact I'm listening to it right now. It's a good one to have.

I like Thin Lizzy a lot, but prefer Live and Dangerous and subsequent releases (Black Rose, Chinatown, Renegade, Thunder and Lightning, Life/Live), and that makes me an unusual fan I guess because everyone seems to prefer the "classic" line-up with Gorham/Robertson. In addition to those, I have Dedication and Jailbreak. I admire Phil Lynott a lot. He was a great songwriter, bass player and singer with a lot of soul in his singing and songwriting. I think that even though he doesn't admit it, someone like Bruce Springsteen was heavily influenced by Phil.

So, my gripes:

  • DVD concert too short.
  • Where was John Sykes (doesn't he front Lizzy now?)?
  • Needed more jamming by all musicians at the same time.
  • No close-ups of Moore's fretboard during Black Rose.
  • Brian Robertson.
Other than that, it's a good one to have.